Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Beetling off to Dungeness - August 2010

Each year, the nations Coleopterists have a meeting somewhere to do a mass recording of a certain area. This looks for new species and confirms the continued existence of important species. This year, the shingle ridges of Dungeness were the chosen venue. Several species of beetle were being sought out, many of them were specialist sand and shingle dwellers and as this habitat changes over time it is important to monitor it regularly to see if the species are still present. Fortunately, the main species being looked for, Omophron limbatum, was eventually found to be still present. It lives in burrows in areas of quicksands on the edge of sand and gravel workings and is at risk from vegetation stabilising the sands and drying them out.

Omophron limbatum

The weekend went quickly with many trips to different areas of the Dungeness peninsula both during daylight hours and after dark. Two other exciting finds were the tenebrionid beetle, Helops caeruleus, which was discovered on railway sleepers in the shingle and a tiny dung beetle, Psammodius asper, that made its home next to the many rabbit burrows in the more sandy areas.

Helops caeruleus

Psammodius dispar

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